A woman who was supposedly giving a ‘word from God’ wanted to imply that Mel was teaching heresy. There are words that are genuine and words that are misguided. Words from the Lord that do not come from a deep-rootedness in the Christ of God and the Gospel of Christ cannot be relied on as an expression of truth. This includes any ‘gospel’ that re-instates the law and any gospel that implies that Christ is not enough and something of us must be added.
Legalism is a trap we may inadvertently fall into. But a gospel that is based on the keeping of the law is a heresy that produces tares rather than sons of God. Mel was not teaching heresy. But the lady who spoke was speaking from a place in ‘another’ gospel that denied the new covenant while trying to live in the Spirit – a contradiction if ever there was one.
THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST
Jesus Christ mediates Himself into our lives personally and as the Church. He unites us to His companionship with Father and Holy Spirit. He is one substance with Father and Holy Spirit and as such, joins us to the Communion that is God from His position in us.
Athanasius taught that Christ “Became Mediator between God and men in order that he might minister the things of God to us and the things of ours to God.” (1) He asserted that Jesus of Nazareth was one substance with God and that we are one substance with Jesus. Indeed this is the meaning of the Lord’s Table in which the bread and wine are a reminder and a sign of our union with Jesus. The bread of life becomes our life in every way.
HIS VICARIOUS HUMANITY
Vicarious humanity means Christ in our place in every possible way.
“Jesus Christ is our human response to God. Thus we appear before God and are accepted by him as those who are inseparably united to Jesus Christ our great High Priest in his eternal presentation to the Father.” (2)
It’s fair to say that the Believer always believes. I don’t know anyone who lives in grace or a works liberated Gospel who uses it as an excuse for sinning. What I do see is people who want more of God and get more of Christ because Christ is much more for us when not diluted by religion. He is more accessible to us than many of us knew. The vicarious humanity of Jesus means that it is not our fitful resolve to be more Christlike that determine our relationship to God and He to us. It is Christ’s relationship to God that is our relationship to God.
Grace has been defined more accurately and holistically as the vicarious humanity of Christ. But this is not only Christ for us. It is Christ as us. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human. This is the teaching of scripture and the Church Fathers. It’s about being and never just words. Jesus is one with God and one with us. As a human being He represents all of us. As God He makes us one with God here and in the heavenlies.
‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved’ Eph 2.4,5 NIV.
Jesus represents us and becomes us. Thomas Torrance observes that we are represented By Christ and more. He is our substitute because He is our grace. He writes, “If representation and substitution are combined and allowed to interpenetrate each other within the incarnational union of the Son of God with us in which he has actually taken our sin and guilt upon his own being, then we may have a profounder and truer grasp of the vicarious humanity in the mediatorship of Christ, as one in which he acts in our place, in our stead, on our behalf but out of the ontological depths of our actual human being.” (The Mediation of Christ, p.81). ‘Ontological’ means acting out of who we are as human beings. No superficiality here.
This is to say that Christ acting for you in relation to God is part of you. Because of the incarnation Jesus is woven into your being and you into His. The ultimate grace is that Jesus is you. No. We are not deities. We are sons re-connected to the Family that is God because Adam has been undone and Jesus Christ has won!
(1) Kettler, Christian D.. The Breadth and Depth of the Atonement: The Vicarious Humanity of Christ in the Church, the World, and the Self: Essays, 1990–2015 (p. 74). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.